Step into Ching Kai’s 3-room flat in Hougang, and you almost feel like you are in an oasis. A creative director and artist, Ching Kai knew right from the start how he would design his own home. “As soon as I set eyes on the flat, I immediately saw its potential, and envisioned how I wanted it to look,” he said. “The flat also gave me a sense of familiarity, as it has the same layout as the one I grew up in.”
Drawing inspiration from Japanese minimalism, Ching Kai focused on transforming the resale flat with an open concept layout. He hired a renovation contractor and personally supervised the home makeover process. His budget? $40,000, including carpentry.
Referencing a book titled “Goodbye, Things” by Fumio Sasaki, Ching Kai shared that the philosophy of doing away with excess resonates with him. “I did my best to reduce my possessions to the items I really needed,” he said.
This meant furnishing his flat with only key pieces he loved, and opting for multifunctional furniture where possible. For instance, a large table in the middle of the living area serves as Ching Kai’s workspace, which can be converted into a dining table when he has guests over.
A large custom-made cupboard offers plenty of storage to keep the flat clutter-free. Ching Kai’s passion for his craft also saw him painting the wardrobe with varying shades of grey for a unique finish.
Ching Kai’s sleeping nook similarly reflects a minimalist aesthetic. He kept the furnishings simple, and opted not to use a bedframe. “As I had removed the bedroom walls, I used drapes to demarcate the bedroom space. It allows me privacy when I needed it, while adhering to the open plan,” he explained.
For the kitchen, Ching Kai chose to use cement flooring as he deems its raw look to be aesthetically pleasing. Plus, it was economical as well. “My principal concern was cost, and using cement helped me save some money on tiles,” he said.
A lack of overhead cabinets complements both the openness of the flat, as well as Ching Kai’s minimalist lifestyle. “It encourages me to keep less things around,” he joked.